GOP lawmakers call on Twitter to ban Chinese Communist Party from the platform
Two Republican lawmakers on Friday called on Twitter to ban the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from its platform following a surge in Chinese misinformation around the coronavirus.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey strongly urging him to remove the CCP from the platform, and to block access to Twitter for any other foreign officials that ban the use of Twitter in their countries.
“While the coronavirus pandemic is afflicting families, governments, and markets around the world, the Chinese Communist Party is waging a massive propaganda campaign to rewrite the history of COVID-19 and whitewash the Party’s lies to the Chinese people and the world,” Gallagher and Sasse wrote.
Twitter is blocked in China, Iran, and North Korea, but according to the lawmakers the CCP spreads misinformation on the platform outside of China, an issue Gallagher and Sasse heavily criticized.
“By banning Twitter in China, the Chinese Communist Party is keeping its citizens in the dark,” they wrote. “By putting propaganda on Twitter, the Chinese Communist Party is lying to the rest of the world.”
The lawmakers asked that Dorsey respond to several questions around how Twitter decides which officials are allowed to access the platform, how Twitter views tweets from the CCP and how Twitter rationalizes allowing the CCP to tweet out misinformation.
“It is clear that Chinese Communist Party officials are using Twitter to disseminate propaganda in the midst of a dangerous global crisis,” Gallagher and Sasse wrote. “Even worse, this propaganda obscures and confuses users over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and potentially undermines efforts to contain and control the outbreak. We believe this behavior more than warrants their removal from the platform.”
Twitter has taken steps to limit misinformation on its platform, including expanding its policy around coronavirus misinformation this week to include a wider amount of content.
The letter was sent the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a press conference that China, Russia, and Iran were actively working to spread misinformation around the coronavirus pandemic.
“There are coordinated efforts to disparage what America is doing and our activity to do all the things President Trump has set into motion,” Pompeo said.
The European Union also found evidence earlier this week that Russia was seeking to sow discord and create chaos through spreading coronavirus misinformation on social media.